The '00s was a decade for some pretty iconic films that, to this day, remain relevant in the grand scheme of popular culture.
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was born; Avatar had a huge moment; Marvel began its rise with the release of the first Iron Man; and a lot of our animated faves like Up, Monster Inc., Shrek, and Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away were brought to life. And while there were so many hugely popular movies that came out within that ten-year span that we still think of fondly, there are others that didn't get their due recognition — hidden gems that people didn't (and still don't) talk about enough. But it's time to reacquaint ourselves with some of these underrated '00s movies, which are fortunately streaming on Netflix.
While they might not all be award-winning, revolutionary box office hits, these classics are all a blast from the cinematic past that will definitely give you a heavy dose of nostalgia. Some of them are just feel-good fun, while others are works of artistic genius that have profound messages and stories. Still, all of them deserve more love, and should definitely be added to your Netflix watch list ASAP.
1 'Atlantis' Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) is arguably the most underrated Disney animated movie of all time. This fantasy adventure film, set in 1914, follows museum cartographer Milo Thatch as he sets out to continue a journey his grandfather started: to find the lost city of Atlantis. But with a crew of five other people with intentions different than his, it all gets very complicated. 2 'Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams'
Spy Kids trilogy belongs in the best-of-the-'00s movie canon. The Island of Lost Dreams is especially exciting, since the whole Cortez family gets in on the action. In this sequel, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) take on a mysterious man and his imaginative creatures, but also face another challenge that tests the entire family when their fellow young spies Gerti and Gary Giggles turn on them. 3 'Chocolat'
Chocolatier Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Luc (Aurelien Parent Koenig) move to a small, conservative and extremely traditional town in '50s France, and open their own chocolate shop just as Lent begins. This shakes up the whole community, and gets the townspeople talking about values and morality.
4 'The Emperor's New Groove'
Emperor Kuzco is an arrogant and selfish ruler who doesn't care for his subjects' needs. His only goal is to build himself his dream summer palace. But when his adviser Yzma turns him into a llama, he has no choice but to rely on the help of a peasant named Pacha.
5 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'
Exes Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Joel (Jim Carrey) decide that desperate times call for seriously drastic measures as they both undergo a medical procedure that allows them to totally erase memories of each other from their minds. This movie is an extremely insightful look into relationships, breakups, and the pain of loss.
6 'Daddy Day Care'
Charlie (Eddie Murphy) suddenly gets laid off from his job. And as his wife Kim (Regina King) becomes the breadwinner of the family, he's left to take care of his son Ben. This inspires him and his old co-worker/fellow stay-at-home dad/friend Phil to run their own day care center.
7 'A Cinderella Story'
This iconic teen movie follows Sam (Hilary Duff) as she waitresses at her evil stepmother's (Jennifer Coolidge) diner, and basically serves as house help for her stepsisters. The only thing that keeps her sane is her Internet crush. But as soon as she finds out it's high school golden boy Austin Ames (Child Michael Murray), she doesn't know what to do.
8 'Another Cinderella Story'
You would think one "Cinderella Story" was enough. But this 2008 take starring Selena Gomez is a must-watch. Dancer Mary lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. On the night of the school's masquerade ball, she gets to dance with her pop idol Joey (Drew Seeley). But when she runs out at midnight, she drops her Zune — Microsoft's discontinued version of the iPod — and leaves Joey searching for his "Cinderella."
9 'Pan's Labyrinth'
This Guillermo del Toro-directed fantasy film is set in 1944, when the Allies have entered Nazi-held Europe. It's a dark time of war and Ofelia, the stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer, finds herself escaping into a legendary world she's read about in a book.
This colorful musical remake of the 1988 classic never gets old. In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) wants nothing more than to be on "The Corny Collins Show." When she lands a spot on the dance floor, her new mission is to use her status as an overnight celebrity to bring racial and body equality to the screen.
11 'Music And Lyrics'
Eighties has-been Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) finds himself in a miserable place in his career, playing small nostalgia tours in hotel ballrooms. But he gets a chance to redeem himself when pop diva Cora Corman asks him to write her a song. The only trouble is he's gone on a songwriting slump, and the only person who can help him is his apartment "plant lady" Sophie (Drew Barrymore), who has a knack for lyrics.
12 'Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist'
Self-proclaimed "sensitive musician" Nick (Michael Cera) is far from getting over his ex-girlfriend — that is, until he and Tris' friend Norah (Kat Dennings) wind up pretending to be an item for a night. This is where a whole wild adventure in search for Norah's drunken friend, Caroline (Ari Graynor) begins.
Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) was never satisfied with her mundane life, and dreamt of a "better world" for herself. In the middle of the night, she discovers a secret door to an alternate universe that mimicked her own — only more fun. But when she discovers that her "Other Parents" want to keep her there forever, she goes on a dangerous adventure to try and get out.
14 'Definitely Maybe'
Political consultant Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is getting divorced, and his curious daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) is trying to understand why by asking her father how he had fallen in love with her mother. He then tells the story of three different women from romances past, and has his daughter guess which one turned out to be her mother.
15 'Julie & Julia'
This delicious movie is based on the very true story of
New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who after having had enough with her frustrating, soul-killing job decides to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Childs's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And as she cooks her way through the book, we also learn all about the tale of Julia Child's own culinary journey. 16 'Sydney White'
Sydney White (Amanda Bynes) is new to college, and immediately looks for home in the sorority her mother pledged. But when the new queen bee of the Greek house of blondes rejects her, she joins forces with seven outcasts to try and take the status quo down.
17 'National Treasure' National Treasure is kind of like the kid-friendly version of The Da Vinci Code. This movie is a conspiracy theory-fueled treasure hunt led by historian Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage), who, along with his fellow treasure hunter Ian Howe (Sean Bean) discovers a clue in the Arctic Circle linking the secret treasure to the Declaration of Independence. But when Ian betrays Ben, wanting the treasure for himself, this becomes a race that involves stealing one of the country's most precious historical documents. 18 'Watchmen'
In an alternate universe, 1985 America is a place and time where costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. But this doesn't sit well with a mystery villain who wants to wipe the world, and history, of superheroes once and for all. Masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), and a group of retired heroes try to put an end to this plot.
19 'Austin Powers In Goldmember'
One word: BEYONCÉ. In this installment of the
Austin Powers film series, Austin (Mike Myers) goes on a mission to save the most renowned spy in England, his father Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), from a villain named Goldmember who is working with Austin's archenemy Dr. Evil. He has to travel back to 1975 and, with the help of detective Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé), find a way to put a stop to whatever mysterious evil scheme the villains have put to action. 20 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'
Life of Pi's Ang Lee, this Academy Award-winning film stars all-around badass Michelle Yeoh. It's set in 19th century Qing Dynasty China, where a warrior (Chow Yun-Fat) gives his precious sword, Green Destiny, to his lover (Yeoh) — who, BTW, is basically a Kung Fu master herself — for safe keeping. But when it suddenly gets stolen, the chase is on. (There's also a Netflix Original sequel starring Harry Shum, Jr.!)
Make sure to have
a lot of microwave popcorn on the ready, because this is going to be one loooooong Netflix marathon.